TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — NASA Astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough haven’t been on Earth since April, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what’s going on here on the ground – including who won the Stanley Cup Championship on Wednesday night.
WFLA Now had an exciting opportunity on Thursday to speak with McArthur and Kimbrough, two members of the NASA SpaceX Crew-2 mission, who are currently orbiting 200 miles above Earth on the International Space Station. Anchor J.B. Biunno asked both astronauts about the first thing they think of when they see Florida from above.
“Well this morning, it was the Lightning and their victory last night,” Kimbrough said. “So congratulations to all the Lightning fans on the Stanley Cup Final.”
Kimbrough added that Florida also means family to him since most of his family is from Brooksville in Hernando County.
McArthur said the first thing she thinks of when she sees the Florida Peninsula is the rocket launches.
“I immediately try to get the camera and get some pictures of the Cape,” she said. “Every time I get to go to Florida, it’s usually related to a launch in some way. So for me, Florida is all about rockets and that’s always a great time.”
McArthur and Kimbrough launched from Florida in April on the Crew-2 mission to the space station. Both previously launched from the Kennedy Space Center on space shuttle missions, but this most recent launch was on a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule.
Meteorologist Amanda Holly, who was at that launch in April, spoke with the two astronauts on Thursday and asked about NASA’s Artemis mission that will look to land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon.
“We’re doing some experiments here on board the space station that are going to help Artemis. There’s some equipment that we’re testing out for them so that they can have viable options when they go to the moon,” Kimbrough explained. “It’s going to be very exciting. We’re going to be, certainly mentors – just from the long duration aspect – to our colleagues who may be going on there.”
During the interview, McArthur and Kimbrough also got to share – and show off – some of their microgravity moves when Meteorologist Rebecca Barry asked them if they ever have a “wow” moment where they realize how cool their jobs are.
“We have lots of moments like that. We feel very blessed, obviously, to have this opportunity,” he said. “I think, ironically, maybe sitting around the table eating dinner – we have these moments every time like ‘Hey, I can just toss this thing over to you and you can just open up your mouth and it floats over to you.’ And those are moments that you can’t duplicate on Earth.”
Our team also talked to Kimbrough and McArthur about the role the space station plays when it comes to tracking weather – like Hurricane Elsa. That interview will be shared on an upcoming episode of Tracking the Tropics.